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Counting Sheep to help you Sleep

Counting_Sheep.jpg counting sheep picture by franfriel

None of us can live without it – sleep that is. Statistics show that 47 per cent of people have either difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep through the night.  More and more people are just not getting enough sleep.

Why do we need to sleep?  Because without it, even for one single night, the body will begin to slow sings of stress.  Our mood, our concentration, defences drop, and then there are the deficiencies in the body that start to fall as well.

Sleeping is natures way of recharging and nourishing both our body and mind and without it we can have problems coping with simple things like day to day living and the ability to cope with life’s little challenges.  Sleep rejuvenates the body and mind.

Before reaching for sleeping aids we need to look at what may be causing the sleeplessness.  Below are listed but just a few.

  • stress and anxiety
  • noise
  • too hot or too cold
  • blood sugar levels
  • too much caffeine
  • too much alcohol
  • eating too late to bedtime
  • medications
  • pain
  • depression
  • side effects of medications
  • irregular working hours ( such as shift work)
  • Sugar intake
  • poor diet
  • hormonal imbalances
  • serotonin deficiency

And the list can go on and on.  Dealing with the underlying cause of sleeplessness is  important  and I would always recommend that one consults a health care professional.  But here are just a few basics that can render a better night’s sleep.

  • Keep your blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day by eating some protein-rich food at every meal
  • Avoid highly refined foods as well as sugary foods, drinks, coffee and alcohol.
  • Eat foods that are high in B6 and tryptophan as this is what is needed for you to get sleepy.  (These foods include chicken, cheese, tuna, milk, seeds,oats, nuts, and eggs.  A good old traditional tried and tested sure fire method for getting to sleep  is the glass of milk before bed).
  • Eat plenty of green vegetables, whole-grains and seafood as these are rich in magnesium  ( Magnesium is known as the ‘natural relaxant!)
  • Develop a habit of drinking herbal teas as opposed to tea with caffeine.  Chamomile is usually the best.
  • Find ways you can relax in the evening.  A bath instead of a shower with lavender oil to help you relax.
  • A meditation before bedtime
  • A massage ( if you’re lucky enough to have someone to do that for you!)
  • Regular exercise, t’ai-chi, yoga, deep breathing exercises.
  • Reading as opposed to watching television

And last but not least………….if all else fails………..count sheep to help you sleep!

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